Friday, September 14, 2007

Translations, Part I

While we all wait for the JIL to come out (2 p.m.?!? I'm getting seriously twitchy here), I thought I'd put up a helpful guide to the lingo of the job search for the newbies. (What, you thought a job search for an English professor would be conducted in English? Sort of, but not quite...)

The Advertisement:

Our department seeking a Literature scholar who is willing serve as Assitant Porfessor of English.

Well, we certainly NEED an English teacher, but we may not actually WANT one.

We are seeking a specialist in Chaucer and Romantic Literature. The ideal candidate would also be fluent in Old Irish.

By a truly remarkable coincidence, such a person not only exists, but is already adjuncting in our department! Isn't that amazing?

We are looking for an Early Modernist scholar.

We really want someone who does E.M. Forster, but we're about to be inundated by applications from Shakespeareans. Or vice versa. Whichever we want, it'll be the one that you aren't.

East Podunk is a cosmopolitan town with many opportunities for outdoor recreation.

We have a Thai restaurant. We may or may not have houses.

Send letter of intent, CV, five letters of recommendation, a statement of teaching philosophy, a statement of research interests, reprints, preprints, student evaluations, and undergraduate and graduate transcripts to the following address...

Nobody will ever look at this stuff again, but it helps us narrow the pool of applicants to the truly desperate.

Interviews will be conducted at the MLA convention or by phone.

We're waiting to see if the Dean will give us money to travel to the MLA, but he probably won't. Actually, we might not get enough money to pay the new hire, either.

Please inform us of our plans to attend the MLA convention.

Maybe this is a typo. But then again, it might be nice if the candidate could also teach fortune-telling.

The Letter:

I expect to complete my dissertation in May 2008.

If the planets align just right, I might finish in August.

I have nearly completed my dissertation [no date given].

I've almost started.

My future research plans include...

Fortunately, plans don't cost anything.

While my primary interest is Romantic poetry, I am prepared to teach courses in British literature from 1770 to 2007...

You only think you want a postmodernist. They're weird.

I enjoy the challenges of working with a diverse population of students, and I am therefore particularly interested in the job at the Alcatraz College of Criminal Justice.

I sure hope your college is on the right side of the bars.

For family reasons, I would very much like to move to East Podunk, so I am particularly interested in this position.

My second cousin lives in West Podunk, 150 miles away. I think I might have met her once.

I am particularly interested in the job at Confused State because I would like to work at a university with a strong commitment to diversity and public service.

Your job ad is so cryptic I can't tell what you're looking for, and your web site so confusing I can't find your mission statement, but I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that even if you hate diversity and public service, you probably won't say it out loud.

I am particularly interested in the position...

... because it means I might get paid! Dude, why do you THINK people apply for jobs?


Liza said...

As a first-year PhD whose grad program bought us a free subscription to the MLA ... may I personally thank you for your translations. Here's hoping "Part I" promises what I think it does ...

Fretful Porpentine said...

Thanks! Yeah, I'm hoping to do a follow-up one about interviews once we get closer to that time of year.

Bardiac said...

Good luck :) I'm rooting for you.

Fretful Porpentine said...

Thanks. It looks like a good year for Renaissance lit -- I'm excited!